28 July 2020 16:31

The X Factor (UK) Interactive Contestant BBC Breakfast

Former X Factor contestant Phillip Blackwell jailed for raping women over 22 years

A rapist who appeared on The X Factor joined the ITV show's live tour - despite knowing he faced being unmasked. "Pure evil" Phillip Blackwell was jailed for life yesterday, Monday, July 27, having been branded "calm and calculated" for sex attacks on nine women over a 22-year period. Warwick Crown Court heard the 56-year-old "carefully targeted" five young vulnerable women who were walking alone in Birmingham, Coventry and Nuneaton. And Adrian Langdale, prosecuting, told the court Blackwell was "happy" to risk being "identified" by touring the nation with the talent series - alongside the likes of Alexandra Burke and JLS - as he wanted "fame". In February, Blackwell pleaded guilty to sex offences against five women, four of which happened in Birmingham in 1997 and 1998 and one in Nuneaton in May 1998.

The offences included nine counts of rape, four of sexual assault, two of assault by penetration and three of voyeurism. A former X Factor contestant has been locked up for carrying out sex attacks on nine women over a 22-year period. A court heard how Phillip Blackwell, 55, would follow his victims when they were walking home at night alone. He would often say to victims "Don't scream, I don't want to hurt you" during the harrowing attacks in Birmingham, Nuneaton and Warwickshire. On Monday, the X-Factor flop was jailed for a minimum of nine years after previously admitting a total of 31 sexual offences at Warwick Crown Court.

The victims were all young females and going about their every day lives late at night. Warwickshire Police launched one of their biggest ever operations and tracked down more victims in Cornwall after Blackwell moved to the south coast in 2003. In February, Blackwell pleaded guilty to sex offences against five women, four of which occurred in Birmingham over 1997 and 1998 and one in Nuneaton in May 1998. He previously appeared via video link where he pleaded guilty to a further 20 sexual offences against three women. DNA taken by Cornish police revealed the dark past of a serial sexual predator who has been jailed for life for attacks on women over three decades.

Phillip Blackwell, 56, previously of Western Road, Launceston, appeared before Warwick Crown Court for sentence yesterday [27 July] after previously admitting 31 sexual offences against nine women in Cornwall, Warwickshire and Birmingham. Blackwell, who infamously appeared on The X-Factor in 2008 with his rendition of Spandau Ballet's Gold, was jailed for life to serve a minimum of nine years before being considered for parole. His dark history of offending since the 1990s came to light after his DNA was taken during a sexual offences investigation in Cornwall. Appearing at Warwick Crown Court in February Blackwell pleaded guilty to committing sexual offences against the five women, four of which occurred in Birmingham over 1997 and 1998 and one in Nuneaton in May 1998. Following his plea at court, Warwickshire Police took the lead on the Cornwall investigation and identified sexual offences against four females.

Blackwell had raped three women and secretly filmed them asleep as he sexually assaulted them. He appeared via video link at court again in May where he pleaded guilty to a further 20 sexual offences in Cornwall. In sentencing Judge Peter Cooke at Warwick Crown Court said it has been conclusively demonstrated Blackwell remained an ongoing danger to women and that there were good grounds for believing he would remain a serious danger to the public way into the future. Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Inspector Glenn Willcocks, from the Sexual Offences and Domestic Abuse Investigation Team in Cornwall, welcomed the sentence and said: "The DNA hit from his arrest in Cornwall began the chain of events which led to the capture of this dangerous and prolific sexual offender. "It is remarkable that Blackwell thought nothing of brazenly appearing on national television and potentially being identified by his victims. "Some of his victims have lived with these devastating crimes for more than 20 years and we are delighted that he has finally been brought to justice. One of his victims in Cornwall said the harm Blackwell had caused "could never be undone", adding: "This case has been incredibly distressing. Assistant Chief Constable Debbie Tedds from Warwickshire Police said: "This is about Blackwell's victims. "As a detective constable working on the case for Warwickshire Police in the 1990s I saw first-hand the terror Blackwell caused in the community. However, the bravery of one his victims in Cornwall in reporting her ordeal at his hands and the wonders of DNA technology have ensured Blackwell's past has caught up with him. "I hope the outcome gives everyone the confidence that we will work tirelessly to bring sex offenders to justice no matter how long ago the offences occurred." If you have been a victim of a sexual offence, no matter when it occurred, support is available. Yesterday (July 27), 56-year-old Phillip Blackwell, from Western Road, Launceston, was handed a life prison sentence at Warwick Crown Court after he admitted 31 sexual offences against nine women in Cornwall, Warwickshire and Birmingham over the course of a 22-year period. He has to serve a minimum of nine years behind bars and during the sentencing hearing, Judge Peter Cooke described Blackwell - who appeared in the 2008 edition of the ITV show - as "one of the most dangerous offenders" he had seen. Following his sentencing, Devon and Cornwall Police has explained how they caught Blackwell - who they called a "sexual predator" - using DNA from one of his victims in Cornwall. "A woman came forward with allegations, including rape, against Blackwell," a statement from the force said. "He was arrested at his home in Launceston by Devon and Cornwall Police in August 2019 and his DNA taken. "When entered into the UK National DNA Database, his profile was found to be a match for a string of stranger rapes against five women in Nuneaton and Birmingham between 1997 and 1998. "In each case, the young women were walking alone in the early hours of the morning when they were attacked from behind before being raped or subjected to other sexual offences. "Despite the size of the investigation and DNA samples being taken from thousands of men in the area, Blackwell, who lived in Birmingham at the time, did not come to light as a suspect. Some of Blackwell's victims - who are entitled to lifelong anonymity - have spoken about the impact the 56-year-old's attacks have had on their lives. One of his victims from Cornwall said: "This case has been incredibly distressing. Another victim from Cornwall said: "I feel shocked by everything that has happened. Evil serial attacker Phillip Blackwell was yesterday (July 27) sentenced to life imprisonment after he admitting raping an 18-year-old woman in Anker Fields in May 1998, as well as a string of other terrifying attacks in Birmingham and Cornwall. ACC Tedds said the fact that Blackwell was brought to justice after 22 years and made to face his 31 crimes should act as an example to any victims of sexual attacks about the importance of speaking out. "I would hope that there are two messages that come out of this investigation and subsequent court hearing - to any victim of sexual offences however long ago that they may have occurred, to have the confidence to come forward and report them, we will take you seriously, we will investigate those despite the time that may have passed," she told Coventry Live. "Also, to those offenders that may think they have got away with their offending, we will continue to investigate matters and seek justice for victims, 22 years later, Blackwell has been forced to face his offending. Anyone who wants to report a sexual crime should contact Warwickshire police on 101.